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Topic: keyboard player opinions please

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  1. #1

    keyboard player opinions please

    hello,
    i'm a guitarist but am trying to branch out musically so i'm trying to decide between a couple of keyboards for christmas to go with GPO. i've narrowed them down to a couple choices but would really appreciate some advice. this one looked good: MAudio Keystation 88 Pro 88-Key Controller & it's non-pro version (sells for half that price). i can't seem to find it right now but there is a casio that looked like this one: casio 88 key digital piano, but had a control wheel.

    i only intend to play through my computer so that's why i checked out the m-audio, but it didn't feel like a piano so then i checked out that casio. anyone play the m-audio? does it bother you if they keys don't feel like a piano? lastly, would a midi controller like the m-audio offer any advantages over a digital piano like the casio?

    thanks for any advice you can provide,
    - jim

  2. #2

    Thumbs up Re: keyboard player opinions please

    I will probably get laughed off this board, but I use an M-Audio keyboard and I like it. First off - I play a keyboard, but I'm definately not a piano player. If I'm playing a GPO instrument like a quick string part, I like keys that are fast and light. I guess it's just what you get used to, but playing hammer action keys in GPO really feels, to me, heavy and slow, and I have trouble getting velocity right.

    So - if you are primarily a guitarist, and using a keyboard mostly for virtual instruments, I don't think that synth keys will hold you back.

  3. #3

    Re: keyboard player opinions please

    Quote Originally Posted by Johneecatt
    I will probably get laughed off this board, but I use an M-Audio keyboard and I like it. First off - I play a keyboard, but I'm definately not a piano player. If I'm playing a GPO instrument like a quick string part, I like keys that are fast and light. I guess it's just what you get used to, but playing hammer action keys in GPO really feels, to me, heavy and slow, and I have trouble getting velocity right.

    So - if you are primarily a guitarist, and using a keyboard mostly for virtual instruments, I don't think that synth keys will hold you back.
    I tried the Keystation 88 and it was way to mushy for me. I realized that piano is only about 5% of what I do anyway- I do way more organ, drums, GPO, etc. So I'm getting the semi-weighted 88 key version of the Keystation (the es I think) for about $250. What stinks is the weighted one has all those awesome assignable controllers on it and the unweighted one deson't. Duh, thanks M-Audio!!

  4. #4

    Re: keyboard player opinions please

    I have the M-Audio. I bought it so I wouldn't have to drag my Roland RD-700 out of the studio every time I have a gig. I'm regretting the purchase. It does have some good points - nice controls, bus-powered, no MIDI interface required - but the keyboard action is simply awful. It's slow, mushy, and the black keys are way too low. There have been lots of questions raised about the action's durability - lots of reports of clicking and loose keys after very moderate use.

    My biggest complaint is that the velocity response is terrible. Playing any sampled instrument with more than three velocity layers is very frustrating. I've tried using it with some 16-layer Bosendorfer patches and it's useless. I've tried all of the velocity scalings and I can't get close to the kind of performance I get out of my Roland. I've ended up dragging my Roland inside every time I need to record a piano part.

    Wanna buy mine? I'll give you a good deal

  5. #5

    Re: keyboard player opinions please

    OK, so what is it?? Why can't there be an 88 key well built controller with pitch and mod wheels as well assignable CC's in weighted and unweighted flavors for a decent price!!

    Wouldn't it be cool if there was a controller where you could switch the weighted feel in and out?? In for piano, out for drums, etc.?? Why can't they do that??

  6. #6

    Re: keyboard player opinions please

    Quote Originally Posted by FredProgGH
    OK, so what is it?? Why can't there be an 88 key well built controller with pitch and mod wheels as well assignable CC's in weighted and unweighted flavors for a decent price!!

    Wouldn't it be cool if there was a controller where you could switch the weighted feel in and out?? In for piano, out for drums, etc.?? Why can't they do that??
    Actually, there is. (Well, not the switchable weighted feel - I doubt that will be a feature any time soon) The keyboard I refer you to is the Yamaha S88 or something like it. My nephew bought it - it has the 88 weighted keys, aftertouch, and the controllers (not as many as m-audio) and its action is much nicer for multi-dynamic VS's.

    BUT (and you knew that was coming) it is a stand-alone synth. (meaning it has its own sounds and programming and not just a midi controller) and it is EXPENSIVE.

    So I think that you have to play around on several ones until you like the feel and response - and then find something similar that also has the control and programming options that you want. (I too feel there is something lacking in the keyboard universe that meets both of these requirements plus an important third - COST.)

    my 2 cents.


    Jerry
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  7. #7

    Re: keyboard player opinions please

    Actually, speaking of Yamaha I haven't played one in years but I know people still swear by the KX-88. They don't even go for much when they show up on ebay, And it had old-school wheels on it. But right now I'm more interested in non-weighted action.

    I remember the Kurzweil MIDIBoard as having wonderful action but they're never on eBay.

  8. #8

    Re: keyboard player opinions please

    Quote Originally Posted by FredProgGH
    Actually, speaking of Yamaha I haven't played one in years but I know people still swear by the KX-88. They don't even go for much when they show up on ebay, And it had old-school wheels on it. But right now I'm more interested in non-weighted action.
    I have a KX88 and love it, however, for programming purposes, a non weighted keyboard would be better for harp glissandos and other super fast stuff that will keep your hands from bleeding,, no really, my hands have never hurt that bad playing parts in, and my hands hurt all the time from Rheumatoid Arthritis anyway.

    .02
    DPDAN

  9. #9

    Re: keyboard player opinions please

    There is a new keyboard that is going to be released in about 3 years, from my discussions with an individual who is working with various audio hardware suppliers.

    It will have two keyboards - in a hammondesqe organ-like arrangement, with upper keyboard and lower keyboard, the lower keyboard will be an 88-key fully weighted action keyboard with adjustable tension and the top one will be a 76-key synth-action keyboard with rounded edges on the sides of the keys. There will also be 25 wheel faders (they are the "infinite" ones that you can keep turning til the cows come home), 25 knobs (again, these have "infinite" turning ability), 25 buttons, two pitch-bends with adjustable tension, and two mod-wheels again with adjustable tension.

    There will be a nice big LCD display panel that is included, which will display 4 main screens, one screen will have fader values, one will have values for all the knobs, and the other one will have values for the buttons. And a general interface screen. There will also be 3 inputs, one for sustain pedal, one for volume pedal, and a breath controller input for say the Yamaha BC3. There will also be 3 MIDI-IN and 3 MIDI-OUT ports with MIDI-THRU functionality for two of the MIDI-IN and MIDI-OUT ports giving you the ability to use a wind controller like say the Yamaha WX5.

    The entire thing is powered via a single USB port and a 12V power adapter will be included if one wants to power it up manually.

    When it comes out it the keys on the bottom will have a very square look to them and they will be pure bright white, the bottom octave of both keyboards will be an ebony colour and the black keys will be an ivory colour, just like they are on the Hammond organ. There will be a special feature where the bottom octave of the keyboards will recall presets for all the knobs and faders.

    The keybeds will be of superb quality and the product line should finalise in mid-2007 and begin shipping in late 2007. I know it's a long wait, but it's going to be well worth it.

    It comes with a complete stand and has it's own LCD panel for the user interface response. The man said that he'll be using it for the B-2003 hammond drawbar organ emulation synth by Creamware. Said the approximate retail price will be about $US1,499-1,799 depending on the specs, but if I were you I'd probably expect about $US2000. One thing you can be sure of - it will be the only MIDI master controller you'll ever need.

    For certain reasons I will not name the company who is developing this product. The product codename is called "Noah WP 88/76". That's about all I am going to say. This is going to be ONE KILLER MIDI KEYBOARD!

    I think the initial design was modelled with the classic Hammond organ in mind, but with the lower keyboard being used for traditional piano playing. The bottom keys will be fully (and I mean FULLY) weighted, and I am assured that the action on the bottom keybed will be of the same quality to keybeds on $5,000+ digital pianos. He didn't mention much of the upper keyboard but he just said it would be "light as a feather" with curved edges on the sides of the keys, and that glissandos could be played effortlessly due to a patented action that he wouldn't specify for obvious reasons. All he said was that it is going to be the best thing since sliced bread as far as MIDI controllers go.

    Keep your eyes peeled.

  10. #10

    Re: keyboard player opinions please

    The dual manual approach is certainly one answer to the problem. I'd prefer two 88's though. Gigastudio is very much designed around an 88-key controller. While this sound like an interesting unit I see no reason in the world to wait 3 years for it. The technology is here now to do all of that.

    Anyway, for the time being I could:

    A) get the M-Audio unweighted controller
    B) get a KX-88 (or something) off eBay
    C) get the M-Audio MIDI box with the knobs and stuff

    and stack them all up for about $1,000 or less. Today.

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